After I downloaded the Joost beta a few weeks ago and watched some of the programming, I read several interesting articles about this Internet television service that was developed by the folks who brought us Skype. It’s pretty slick. Simple and easy to use.
It’s been in beta for several months and there’s been some chatter and question about its commercial viability. From my experience with it, I could envision some exciting possibilities to truly integrate rather interrupt with advertising and promotional messages. I was curious to see what the first execution would be and what advertisers would jump on board first.
In a story in today’s New York Times, both were answered. It looks like Coke, Nike, P&G, United Airlines, Microsoft, Sony, Unilever, Purina, HP, Intel, Motorola, Taco Bell and the Army are among the 32 pioneers in a three month advertising trial.
While some of the advertising will resemble the typical :30 spot, others are planning to experiment with ways that will take advantage of the true interactive qualities of the web by using contextual units dubbed hand-raisers. These small boxes will appear as the show is running and viewers who interact with the unit will see an overlay of content created for the advertiser. United could buy one of these hand-raisers during one of the National Geographic travel programs and enable people to book right on the spot.
Additionally Joost users will be encouraged to provide info about themselves and their interests which will enable advertisers to steer their ads to individual Joost viewers eliminating waste. You can get right to the people that are interested and not annoy those that are not.
It’s like DRTV on steroids.
Rumor has it they will begin public broadcasting next Tuesday, but Joost has not confirmed that start date — saying only that the introduction would occur sometime this spring.